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Category Archives: Imperialism

Rand Paul Against the World, by Jack Hunter

Rand Paul is apparently tempering some of the foreign policy advice Trump gets from his more wild-eyed advisors. From Jack Hunter at theamericanconservative.com:

Not long ago, Donald Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton was promising regime change in Iran by the end of this year. Uber-hawk Bolton has long wantedwar with Tehran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo isn’t much different, and has even advocated bombing Iran. Secretary of Defense James Mattis has previously recommend U.S. airstrikes against Iranian targets.

Today, Bolton says the U.S. does not to seek regime change in Iran. So does Pompeo. So does Mattis.

Why?

President Trump has been known to be hawkish on Iran. Politico observedWednesday: “Trump has drawn praise from the right-wing establishment for hammering the mullahs in Tehran, junking the Iran nuclear deal and responding to the regime’s saber rattling with aggressive rhetoric of his own….” There are also powerful factions in Congress and Washington with inroads to the president that have been itching for regime change for years. “The policy of the United States should be regime change in Iran,” says Senator Tom Cotton, once rumored to be Trump’s pick to head the CIA.

So what, or who, is stopping the hawks?

Politico revealed Wednesday some interesting aspects of the relationship between Senator Rand Paul and the president, particularly on foreign policy: “While Trump tolerates his hawkish advisers, the [Trump] aide added, he shares a real bond with Paul: ‘He actually at gut level has the same instincts as Rand Paul…’.”

On Iran, Politico notes, “Trump has stopped short of calling for regime change even though Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and Bolton support it, aligning with Paul instead, according to a GOP foreign policy expert in frequent contact with the White House.”

But this part of the story was the most revelatory: “’Rand Paul has persuaded the president that we are not for regime change in Iran,’ this person said, because adopting that position would instigate another war in the Middle East.”

This is significant, not because Trump couldn’t have arrived at the same position without Paul’s counsel, but because it’s easy to imagine him embracing regime change, what with virtually every major foreign policy advisor in his cabinet supporting something close to war with Iran. “Personnel is policy” is more than a cliché.

To continue reading: Rand Paul Against the World

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The Deep State’s Long Enmity Towards Iranians, by Jacob Hornsberger

After three-quarters of a century, the Deep State can still not either forget or forgive the Iranians their wretched ingratitude when the US and Britain got rid of the Iranians freely elected ruler with their own puppet, the Shah. From Jacob Hornsberger at fff.com:

The U.S. deep state’s hatred of the Iranian people goes back a long way, at least as far back as 1953. That was the year that the CIA, which was called into existence in 1947 when the U.S. government was being converted to a national-security state, targeted Iran with its first regime-change operation. And guess who paid the price for that operation. Yes, the people of Iran.

The Iranian Parliament had elected a man named Mohammad Mossadegh to be their prime minister. Mosaddegh would later be named Time magazine’s “Man of the Year.” As many government officials around the world have done, Mosaddegh nationalized the country’s oil industry, arguing that natural resources belonged to the nation.

The oil companies that bore the brunt of the nationalization were British-owned. Not surprisingly, they, along with British public officials, were livid over having the oil wells nationalized. British officials turned to the CIA for help.

The CIA asked President Truman for permission to initiate a coup to help the British oil companies, which the CIA knew would destroy the Iranian people’s experiment with democracy. To his everlasting credit, Truman said no. That didn’t stop the CIA however. As soon as President Eisenhower became president in 1952, the CIA renewed its request for a coup, arguing that Mossadegh was a “communist.”

Why did that make a difference? Because by this time, the U.S. deep state had launched its Cold War against America’s World War II partner and ally, the Soviet Union, which was run by a communist regime. Americans were inculcated with the fear that the communists were coming to get us, take over the federal government, and turn America Red. Thus, anyone labeled a “communist” automatically became a threat to U.S. “national security.”

Ike gave the go-ahead to the Iranian coup. In a brilliantly cunning plan, the CIA successfully toppled Mosaddegh but, surprisingly, left him alive. The CIA then vested the unelected Shah of Iran with total dictatorial power over the Iranian people. The Shah restored oil rights to the British petroleum countries.

To continue reading: The Deep State’s Long Enmity Towards Iranians

Trump’s Peace Train: Next Stop, Afghanistan, by Justin Raimondo

Trump has an opportunity to do what the two presidents before him couldn’t do: get the US out of Afghanistan. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

The Christmas truce of 1914 was something truly miraculous. There, in the midst of a vicious war – really the first modern war, in which air power and advanced gunnery both played a part for the first time – the two sides not only laid down their arms, but they also consorted and celebrated the pause in the senseless interminable slaughter. When it was over, they went back to destroying European civilization, but for a moment there a vision of what peace would be like if people took their fate into their own hands was readily apparent. Yes, we always drag out this example, every Christmas, as a lesson in what might be and should be – but could anything like that legendary truce happen today?

Well, it has happened, and in the most unlikely place imaginable – the wilds of Afghanistan, whose stony landscape has absorbed so much blood that I’m surprised the earth itself hasn’t liquefied. As the Washington Post reports:

“A first possible breakthrough in the 17-year Afghan conflict came in June, when a brief cease-fire during a Muslim holiday produced a spontaneous celebration by Afghan troops, civilians and Taliban fighters. The nationwide yearning for peace became palpable.”

Unlike the World War I version, however, it looks like something may come of this spontaneous rebellion against a long and futile war:

“Now, in a development that could build on that extraordinary moment, a senior American diplomat and Taliban insurgent officials have reportedly held talks for the first time, meeting in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar and agreeing to hold further sessions. According to Taliban officials, they discussed reprising the truce in August.”

The US, bypassing the barely functional Afghan “government” — which controls only the territory around Kabul – is negotiating directly with the Taliban, whose leaders are enthusiastic about the talks. While the White House is laconic about the negotiations, the insurgents are more forthcoming: one described the talks as “very positive,” and averred that “We agreed to meet again soon and resolve the Afghan conflict through dialogue.”

To continue reading: Trump’s Peace Train: Next Stop, Afghanistan

The US 2019 Defense Budget Bill: Congress Defies the New World Order, by Alex Gorka

Congress is trying to use the appropriations process to tell all sorts of countries what they can and cannot do. From Alex Gorka at strategic-culture.org:

The House and Senate versions of the draft National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2019 were unveiled by Congress on July 23. Both include a provision to temporarily bar the transfers of F-35 joint strike fighters (JSF) to Turkey. According to the final 2019 defense bill, the Defense Department would be required to submit a report to lawmakers within 90 days about the relationship with Ankara, all its foreign weapons deals, and Turkey’s move to purchase the S-400 air-defense system from Russia before any more sales could go through. Until then the US would sit on any weapons transfers to Turkey. Ankara’s decision to buy the Russian S-400 air-defense system, the “F-35 killer,” has greatly aggravated bilateral ties between the US and Turkey, a relationship that was already clouded by many other issues.

The House is expected to vote on the legislation this month, with the Senate taking it up in early August. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had warned Congress against punishing Turkey by cutting off transfers of F-35s in retaliation for its plans to buy the Russian anti-aircraft system, but his opinion was ignored. The State Department has been putting pressure on Ankara to try to make it reconsider the S-400 deal, in favor of purchasing the less capable, US-made Patriot system.  US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell told the Senate “We’ve been very clear that across the board, an acquisition of S-400 will inevitably affect the prospects for Turkish military-industrial cooperation with the United States, including F-35.” Turkish officials view the US demand as blackmail.

Turkey is one of twelve partner nations in the F-35 program, nine of which have received the fighters through foreign military sales. Ankara has planned to purchase the 100 F-35 aircraft it technically already owns by investing $1.25 billion into the project. US legislators fear that using the F-35 and the S-400 together could compromise the F-35 and allow Russia to gain access to the sensitive technology.  As a result, the true owner has been denied access to his property by both houses of US Congress.

The bill includes a compromise waiver under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act  (CAATSA) for the countries purchasing Russian military equipment, as long as they are taking steps to wean themselves from it.

To continue reading: The US 2019 Defense Budget Bill: Congress Defies the New World Order

Liberalism and Empire, by Nathan J. Robinson

Paul Krugman laments the fall of the American Empire, and Nathan J. Robinson blasts him. From Robinson at currentaffairs.org:

Paul Krugman had a column a few weeks ago called “Fall of the American Empire” about Donald Trump’s repudiation of “the values that actually made America great.” It is worth analyzing, because it is amusing and illustrative. Krugman believes that Trump is threatening to destroy America’s great “empire” and that this is bad, because our country’s “empire” is good and noble. Trump, Krugman suggests, is an aberrant departure from the lofty values and ideals that have guided our foreign policy for most of the past century. In fact, let’s have a look at a chunk of Krugman’s column so he can put things in his own words (please retain your guffaws until the end):

[W]e emerged from World War II with a level of both economic and military dominance not seen since the heyday of ancient Rome. But our role in the world was always about more than money and guns. It was also about ideals: America stood for something larger than itself — for freedom, human rights and the rule of law as universal principles. Of course, we often fell short of those ideals. But the ideals were real, and mattered. Many nations have pursued racist policies; but when the Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal wrote his 1944 book about our “Negro problem,” he called it “An American Dilemma,” because he viewed us as a nation whose civilization had a “flavor of enlightenment” and whose citizens were aware at some level that our treatment of blacks was at odds with our principles… But what does American goodness — all too often honored in the breach, but still real — have to do with American power, let alone world trade? The answer is that for 70 years, American goodness and American greatness went hand in hand. Our ideals, and the fact that other countries knew we held those ideals, made us a different kind of great power, one that inspired trust. Think about it. By the end of World War II, we and our British allies had in effect conquered a large part of the world. We could have become permanent occupiers, and/or installed subservient puppet governments, the way the Soviet Union did in Eastern Europe. And yes, we did do that in some developing countries; our history with, say, Iran is not at all pretty. But what we mainly did instead was help defeated enemies get back on their feet, establishing democratic regimes that shared our core values and became allies in protecting those values. The Pax Americana was a sort of empire; certainly America was for a long time very much first among equals. But it was by historical standards a remarkably benign empire, held together by soft power and respect rather than force.

To continue reading: Liberalism and Empire

Pompeo’s Ridiculous Crocodile Tears for Iranian People, by Muhammad Sahimi

Nobody in Iran thinks Trump, Pompeo, Bolton and company gives two shits about the people of Iran. From Muhammad Sahimi at antiwar.com:

On Sunday 22 July 2018 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke before what the State Department claimed to be representatives of the Iranian-American community in the United States. Attendance was by invitation only, and the questions had to be submitted in advance, so that they could be vetted. Those who attended were mostly supporters of “regime change” in Iran by imperialist military intervention: old monarchists who still dream of going back to power in Iran; supporters of the MEK, the opposition organization that is universally hated by the Iranian people due to the many treasons committed by it, an organization that up until 2011 was listed by the State Department as a terrorist group, and rich Iranian Zionists who support Israel fervently. Interestingly, they mostly wanted to remain anonymous also.

Based on what the author read in social networks, a very large majority of Iranians living in the United States were opposed to even attending the speech, let alone agreeing with what Pompeo had to say. Pompeo’s speech was supposedly intended to express the Trump administration’s support for the Iranian people, and that is where the absurdity of the administration’s policy toward Iran – if one can call it as such – and the speech itself becomes evident immediately.

To see this, consider the following:

Pompeo has worked closely with some of the most virulent Islamophobes in the United States. He and national security adviser John Bolton made Islamophobia mainstream, yet Pompeo sheds crocodile tears for 83 million Iranians, 98 percent of whom are Muslim.

Pompeo and Bolton have called for bombing Iran, and yet Pompeo’s is under the illusion that the Iranian people believe that he is their friend.

Pompeo and the Trump administration claim to be friends of Iranian people, yet Iranian citizens have been banned from coming to the United States. In his speech Pompeo uttered not a single word about the ban.

Pompeo [and Bolton] were ardent foes of the nuclear agreement between Iran and P5+1 – the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany – officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The administration exited JCPOA illegally, and is trying to re-impose tough economic sanctions on Iran. Not only JCPOA benefited the Iranian people economically, it also contributed to lessening tension in the Middle East and elsewhere. It is supported almost unanimously by the Iranian people both in Iran and in the diaspora, yet Pompeo “laments” the economic plights of the Iranian people that will be even worse after the re-imposition of the sanctions.

To continue reading: Pompeo’s Ridiculous Crocodile Tears for Iranian People

The All-Pervasive Military/Security Complex, by Paul Craig Roberts and Joan Roelofs

Why nobody protests America’s wars anymore: everyone is bought off! This is an excellent article. From Paul Craig Roberts and Joan Roelofs at paulcraigroberts.org:

The article below by Professor Joan Roelofs is reproduced with permission from CounterPunch.

The article appeared in the print edition of CounterPunch Vol. 25, No. 3, and is available online at https://joanroelofs.files.wordpress.com/2018/07/insecurity-blanket.pdf

The article is long but very important and is worth a careful read. It shows that the military/security complex has woven itself so tightly into the American social, economic, and political fabric as to be untouchable. President Trump is an extremely brave or foolhardy person to take on this most powerful and pervasive of all US institutions by trying to normalize US relations with Russia, chosen by the military/security complex as the “enemy” that justifies its enormous budget and power.

In 1961 President Eisenhower in his last public address to the American people warned us about the danger to democracy and accountable government presented by the military/industrial complex. You can imagine how much stronger the complex is 57 years later after decades of Cold War with the Soviet Union.

The Russian government, Russian media, and Russian people desperately need to comprehend how powerful the US military/security complex is and how it is woven into the fabric of America. No amount of diplomacy by Lavrov and masterful chess playing by Putin can possibly shake the control over the United States exercised by the military/security complex.

Professor Roelofs has done a good deed for the American people and for the world in assembling such extensive information documenting the penetration into every aspect of American life of the military/security complex. It is a delusion that a mere President of the United States can bring such a powerfull, all-pervasive institution to heel and deprive it of its necessary enemy.

The Political Economy of the Weapons Industry
Guess Who’s Sleeping With Our Insecurity Blanket?

By Joan Roelofs

For many people the “military-industrial-complex (MIC)” brings to mind the top twenty weapons manufacturers. President Dwight Eisenhower, who warned about it in 1961, wanted to call it the military- industrial-congressional-complex, but decided it was not prudent to do so. Today it might well be called the military-industrial-congressional-almost-everything-complex. Most departments and levels of government, businesses, and also many charities, social service, environmental, and cultural organizations, are deeply embedded with the military.

The weapons industry may be spearheading the military budget and military operations; it is aided immensely by the cheering or silence of citizens and their representatives. Here we will provide some likely reasons for that assent. We will use the common typology of three national sectors: government, business, and nonprofit, with varying amounts of interaction among them. This does not preclude, though it masks somewhat, the proposition that government is the executive of the ruling class.

Every kind of business figures in the Department of Defense (DoD) budget. Lockheed is currently the largest contractor in the weapons business. It connects with the worldwide MIC by sourcing parts, for example, for the F-35 fighter plane, from many countries. This helps a lot to market the weapon, despite its low opinion among military experts as well as anti-military critics. Lockheed also does civilian work, which enhances its aura while it spreads its values.

To continue reading: The All-Pervasive Military/Security Complex

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